Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

A Rising Tide to Sink His Boat

Saturday, 23 January 2010

The Gallup Organization has acknowledged that the President's disapproval rating and approval rating are now matched, at 47%. I am highly skeptical that it took until now for that to happen.

[Correction and Up-Date (2010:01/24): It seems that initial reports were slightly off, that Gallup reported a 48% approval level and 47% disapproval level. And to-day they report both as simultaneously holding steady, skating against each other. (2010:01/25): Well, no, the Gallup Orgainzation indeed had them equal in their report for 20-22 Jan; then they showed his approval rating ticking up to 48% while the disapproval rating held steady.]

The Financial Times explains that things are almost certainly going to become more awkward for the President. The Republicans smell blood; moderate Democrats feel more free (or obliged) to say no. The Secretary of the Treasury is enmeshed in scandal over his actions when with the Federal Reserve; the Chairman of the Fed may not have the votes for reconfirmation.

I'd note other things. Unemployment has stayed high; some of the President's defenders say that there isn't much that he can do about that, but he and his party hugely increased the deficit on the claim that they could, with few people now believing that the money were well spent. The American automotive manufacturing industry has no real prospects for long-term health. The two wars that so many voters expected to be neatly or quickly resolved (one of which Obama said must be fought to victory) are still grinding-up American soldiers. Russia and China want Iran to continue to be a problem. The Guantanamo naval prison is still unclosed, and the ACLU has denounced the plan to continue holding prisoners without trial once they are relocated. Skepticism about anthropogenic climate change is growing, and supposed points of no return have been passed. The world still treats America with disdain, and much of it is on the cusp of telling us that Obama is a failure or that he's better than we deserve or both.

It is very likely that the Gallup Organization will one day report that this President's disapproval rating has passed 50%.

Lies, Damn'd Lies, Statistics, and…

Sunday, 29 November 2009

In my previous entry, I noted that, as the Gallup report of the President's approval rating approached 50% from above, there was an asymmetry in its perturbations, that it skated the 50% line, without blipping below it, for an extended interval. And I noted that, as the disapproval rating approached the approval rating from below, it tentatively seemed to be displaying a complementary asymmetry, plateauing when it might be expected to rise further.

Indeed, that reported plateau was stretched for a full week. If you'll look at the previous reported figures for the disapproval rating, you'll see nothing like it.


Tuesday, 24 November 2009

The news noted a few days ago that, according to the Gallup Organization, the approval rating for President Obama had fallen below 50%.

I've been watching the Gallup poll (along with other polls) for some time now, and had become increasingly doubtful of its reports. As the rating approached the 50% line, an apparent asymmetry developed in the perturbations, to which I refer as skating. This skating was at its most pronounced when the rating would hit the 50% line; it might blip up, but it would not blip down.

The Gallup Organization has referred to the President's drop below the 50% line as symbolic, but in a nation that likes its decisions made by majorities or by super-majorities, and with the President being of a party that named itself for democracy, having less than majority approval is more than merely symbolic.

The next milestone comes if-and-when the reported share of the population who disapprove of the President's performance exceed those who approve. The Gallup Organization has reported the disapproval rating being as high as 44%, and as generally climbing. But, guess what? For the last few days, even as the President's approval rating has been admitted to have dropped below 50%, the disapproval rating has been reported as plateauing, as if the loss of approval completely translated into indifference or indecision. Perhaps we are now going to see a sort of complementary asymmetry of reported perturbations for disapproval.

(The third milestone would be when the disapproval rating climbed above 50%.)

Booby Prize

Friday, 9 October 2009

The short-term result of the Nobel Committee giving the Peace Prize to President Obama will probably be to increase his political capital in some amount (in a context where polls shows his domestic approval trending downward and at or below 50%). In the long-run, this award will prove damaging to popular American perceptions both of Europe and of the Democratic Party.

American perceptions of Europe will suffer, because the only distinctive objectives had by President Obama which enjoy majority support are objectives at which he will not succeed. And American perceptions of the Democratic Party will suffer because it will be seen not simply as seeking the wrong things but as doing so in alliance with alien forces.


Friday, 11 September 2009

Joe Wilson has behaved like a d_mn'd fool, and there's not much reason to expect him to stop behaving like a d_mn'd fool, but he's being offered a Golden Opportunity:

Tensions remain after Joe Wilson Apology by Josh Gerstein and John Bresnahan at Politico

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) says he’s done apologizing for his outburst during President Barack Obama’s prime-time speech Wednesday, but two House Democratic leaders are calling for a formal reprimand if Wilson continues to refuse to make a public statement of contrition on the House floor.

A clever politician would agree that such an apology were required, and then proceed to deliver something that were indeed an expression of regret, and impossible to fault on technical grounds, but that wrapped an explanation of Wilson's ostensible concerns. The apology could be formally very polite and yet a strong declaration of belief in opposition to the President's programmes. Listeners at all inclined to sympathy for Mr Wilson or to anxieties about the President would have that sympathy or those anxieties greatly reïnforced.

Were I a Democrat then, while I'd generally bet on Wilson's continued foolishness, I wouldn't take this particular bet. The chance of losing is quite low, but the loss would be far too great.

Better Keep Your Head

Thursday, 10 September 2009

In predicting response to the speech yester-day of President Obama, I certainly did not anticipate the outburst by Joe Wilson.

Pericles once noted that the choices of a leader should be informed by the fact that he would not always be the leader.

Our two major political parties need to remember, when in opposition, that their presumption is that they will not always be in opposition. Their behaviors when in opposition set precedents that will be followed by each other party when it is forced into opposition. The next time that we have a Republican President speaking before Congress, there will be less to prevent a Democrat from heckling him or her.

…and Eating It Too

Friday, 4 September 2009
White House Objects to School Lunch Advocates' Poster Mentioning Obama Daughters by Jake Tapper at ABC News

We've been very clear I think from even before the administration started that their two girls would have a very private life, and we want to protect that private life and their privacy, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said this morning when asked about the PCRM posters. And we hope that others will be respectful, as many in the media have been, about not using the girls as a publicity stunt.

Obama photo evokes Kennedy moment from the BBC

The US White House has released a photograph of President Barack Obama's daughter Sasha sneaking up on her father as he works in the Oval Office.

The image has drawn comparisons with the famous 1963 image of John F Kennedy Jnr playing underneath the Oval Office desk as his father reads documents.

Painting by Numbers

Thursday, 3 September 2009

On 9 September, President Obama is to address Congress on health care reform. Here is what I predict to follow:

  • The main-stream media will declare the speech to be a sort of triumph.
  • In all likelihood, the President's approval ratings will blip back up over the next few days, and the main-stream media will treat this increase as a trend.
  • The approval ratings will begin again to decline, but the main-stream media will ignore the decline until his ratings are at or below the previous low.
  • When the main-stream media admit to the lack of an upward trend, it will be to declare the approval ratings to be volatile, as if they are merely oscillating, rather than trending downwards.
  • When it can no longer be denied that the President is generally unpopular, main-stream media analysis will largely be of a supposed inability of the American public to be happy with any President, as opposed to an honest examination of the differences between what had been hoped and expected (reasonably and unreasonably) of Mr Obama in particular, and what has actually come under his Administration.


Saturday, 20 June 2009
Obama Closes Doors on Openness by Michael Isikoff at Newsweek
As a senator, Barack Obama denounced the Bush administration for holding secret energy meetings with oil executives at the White House. But last week public-interest groups were dismayed when his own administration rejected a Freedom of Information Act request for Secret Service logs showing the identities of coal executives who had visited the White House to discuss Obama's clean coal policies.

Presidential Prognostications

Monday, 15 June 2009

I am not at all sanguine about the oppositional up-rising in Iran. Although it is evident that Ahmadinejad's faction rigged the counting of the vote, I think that he would have won, by approximately the same margin, had the votes been honestly counted. I see the up-rising as that of a minority, and of a minority that is considerably less thuggish than the majority whom they oppose.

Meanwhile, I am fairly sure that, by the end of the calendar year, the attempt by our own President to reëngineer America will have failed, and that the changes that he will have been able to effect will, over-all, be viewed by most Americans as wrong-headed in one way or another.

In some future entry, I'll have more to say about my perceptions of his programme.